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Mixing Pixel Aspect Ratios and Aspect Ratios

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Eric HartmannMixing Pixel Aspect Ratios and Aspect Ratios
by on Jan 10, 2011 at 5:25:39 pm

I have a project that is mixing footage of different aspect ratios and pixel aspect ratios. Some of the video is 1280x720 (1.00) and some is 704x478 (089). I am out of my mind confused on how to set up the project so it comes out right. At this time, it is just going out as video for web, but I am guessing at some point it'll wind up on a DVD. So my initial instinct was to fit it to NTSC DV 720 x 780 (0.91) (adjusting scale constraining proportions to fit that aspect ratio) so it would work on a DVD in the future. But when I rendered it all of the clips look stretched horizontally. This is my first project working from sent footage not captured from tape I shot myself, and I'll admit I am floundering a bit. Can anyone help?


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Tudor "Ted" JelescuRe: Mixing Pixel Aspect Ratios and Aspect Ratios
by on Jan 10, 2011 at 8:31:42 pm

I would recommend bringing everything to square pixel aspect ratio- work in a project that has a square par and resize all material to fit. This way you can make sure no distortion will appear- then render out applying a stretch ( ex- work in 768x576 and render stretched to 720x576 - PAL D1).

Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Senior VFX Artist


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Eric HartmannRe: Mixing Pixel Aspect Ratios and Aspect Ratios
by on Jan 10, 2011 at 9:11:59 pm

OK, I think that makes sense. But I would be exporting NTSC for DVD not PAL, so if I am following: I should work in NTSC D1 square-pixel 720x534 (1.0)? That way I can publish later to 720x486 (0.91) for DVD, and as is for computer output?



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Dave LaRondeRe: Mixing Pixel Aspect Ratios and Aspect Ratios
by on Jan 10, 2011 at 9:29:34 pm

The other way to skin this cat is to place all the footage in a 720x480 (not 486) NTSC DV comp. All DVD video is 720x480, so why not work in the destination resolution? If you look in the comp presets available, you''ll find it.

The question: Do you want to make 16x9 widescreen or 4x3? You can make either. There's a comp preset for either. And eash one is 720x480; they just fool with the pixel aspect ratios to make widescreen.

Then render in a high-quality codec and use SOMETHING ELSE to encode to mpeg2, which is the only codec you can use for an authored DVD. Your DVD authoring software may even be able to do it.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Eric HartmannRe: Mixing Pixel Aspect Ratios and Aspect Ratios
by on Jan 10, 2011 at 9:58:59 pm

OK, this is where I am getting confused.

Let's take this in steps, if you don't mind. I know this will need to be a 4:3 ratio as smaller video is 4:3 and the larger is 16:9 - I'll just resize the larger files down to fit.

I'll first need to output this as a computer file. I am assuming that will need a square pixel (1.0) to look right on computer play back.

Later, I'll need to export this to DVD. That will need to be 720x480 (0.91).

The question is, how do I set it up to get the pixels looking right for both mediums? Or do I have to set it up twice? My mind is melting...



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Dave LaRondeRe: Mixing Pixel Aspect Ratios and Aspect Ratios
by on Jan 10, 2011 at 10:27:29 pm

Ha! Things like this are rarely a no-brainer.

What compression applications do you have a available to you? It would also help to know about your version of AE and OS.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Eric HartmannRe: Mixing Pixel Aspect Ratios and Aspect Ratios
by on Jan 10, 2011 at 10:29:09 pm

I am in AE CS5 on Win 7 (and thanks for the help).



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Dave LaRondeRe: Mixing Pixel Aspect Ratios and Aspect Ratios
by on Jan 10, 2011 at 10:32:45 pm

Then Adobe Media Encoder is your friend.

You can do your work at 720x480 in AE. Render a high-quality codec. Use the resulting file in Encore to make the mpeg2 file for the DVD. Use that very same high-quality file in Adobe Media Encoder to create a square-pixel file for the web.

I do all my work in Quicktime -- even on Windows boxes -- so you're on your own to choose a high-quality codec.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Michael SzalapskiRe: Mixing Pixel Aspect Ratios and Aspect Ratios
by on Jan 11, 2011 at 3:17:24 pm

I work in CS5 on Windows 7 and we use Quicktime with the PNG codec for lossless files too.

- The Great Szalam
(The 'Great' stands for 'Not So Great, in fact, Extremely Humble')

No trees were harmed in the creation of this message, but several thousand electrons were mildly inconvenienced.


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